There’s more to PPC services than meets the eye – so many confusing options and possibilities that only this article can help.
Five Main Stages of a PPC Campaign
Any pay per click (PPC) campaign that you (or anybody else for that matter) do should consist of these five stages.
- Design and development
- Evaluation and management
Inside these stages may be included sub-stages and miscellaneous activities but these five are unavoidable.
Let’s go ahead and talk about each one of them in detail.
If you already have a campaign running, you might want to include stage 0 that would come right before planning.
At this stage 0, you’d need to complete a full audit of the existing PPC campaign collecting all the data (daily ad budget, click-through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC) and more) that would help you to decide whether the campaign was successful and why.
Any conclusions you make, you should use in the process of the future campaign planning.
During the planning process, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I want to run this campaign? (seriously, sometimes a PPC campaign isn’t the best solution – there are plenty of other digital marketing options)
- What is the primary goal of my campaign? What are the secondary goals?
- Who are the people I am going to reach out to (target audience)? What are their distinctive characteristics that could help me understand them better and adjust my marketing message appropriately? (this article here might help «How to Create Buyer Persona for Your Business and Get More Clients»)
- How much money can I afford to spend on this campaign in total? Daily? What is the maximum CPC I could afford?
- How long is the campaign going to run and when should I expect to see the first meaningful results?
- What are my target metrics for the campaign?
- daily budget, monthly budget, overall budget – from $X to $Y
- maximum CPC for flat-rate PPC and maximum amount of bid for bid-based PPC
- CTR for the ads and conversion rate for various pages (landing page, product page, checkout page, payment details page)
- How am I going to track and measure the campaign progress? What tools should I use?
- How am I going to scale this campaign if it turns out to be s success? How fast can I scrap it if it proves to be unsuccessful?
- Anything else campaign-relevant that may come to your mind.
Keyword Research and Bidding
Despite containing only one activity, this stage is probably the most important of them all. Although there are many tools designed to help you out with this task, there still hasn’t been anything sharper than a human mind and professional experience.
If you ask me, there’s no algorithm as to how to find the right keywords for your particular campaign – it’s all a combination of common sense, hunch, and a bit of «trial and error» experimentation.
Some keywords aren’t there for the taking – you need to bid on them. As a rule, these are the most sought-after, popular keywords like «how to make money» or «online casinos».
Sometimes, the bid price could go as high as $30 or $40 per click – quite impressive but, considering how much money you could potentially make off just one customer, it’s ultimately worth every penny.
If you don’t feel like paying that much for a single click, you should consider using long-tail keywords – these are more detailed and specific phrases than just «order pizza online». They might fetch you fewer clicks but the ones you WILL get, might show pretty high conversion rate since these people know exactly what they’re looking for and won’t mess around.
Another option is going for negative keywords – that is, when you indicate, which keywords you don’t want your ad to be shown under.
E.g., your main keyword is “download beginner’s guide to PPC” and you don’t want to give it away for free – therefore, you add negative keywords like “free” and “without registration”. In this case, users who are looking specifically for freebie stuff, won’t see your ads since they’re not your target audience anyway.
Design and Development
This is pretty straightforward – create your banner ad design, write your copy, and set up the campaign in Google AdWords, Bing Ads, or Yahoo Search Marketing.
However, it wouldn’t be unwise to check on the following things before you launch the campaign:
- all links are clickable and lead to the right web pages;
- all links are trackable and the corresponding data shows in the analytics tools;
If everything’s been set up properly and all checks have been completed, it’s time to get yourself a bottle of champagne, open it up, and launch the whole thing!
Evaluation and campaign management
Once you start getting the first statistics and other campaign-relevant data, you want to monitor it closely to see if it stays within the planned limits.
Once you reach your first checkpoint (24 hours, 500 clicks, $100 spent, etc.), you should compare the results you’re getting with the planned metrics. If necessary, make some adjustments.
If the campaign is running nicely and according to your plan, all you have to do is monitor it and figure out ways to improve the campaign performance (optimize keywords, optimize CPC, etc.).
The Full List of PPC Services
This is what you should expect from a serious digital marketing and branding agency. You probably won’t need all these services at once but it’s good to know that if you ever something special, you’re going to get it.
- PPC audit
- PPC account strategic plan
- PPC development
- Keyword discovery and selection
- Competitive research
- Ad text creation
- Banner design
- Ad submission
- PPC management services
- Conversion tracking
- Landing page optimization
- PPC monitoring
- PPC cost management
- Remarketing services (remarketing means that the system recognizes a certain segment of your website visitors (e.g., people who added an item to their cart) and follows them wherever they go on the Internet showing relevant banners and ad messages – e.g., “complete your purchase and get free gift”)
- Google Display Network services
Shopping ads are another sub-type of typical contextual advertising banners on Google or Bing – they allow you to advertise your products directly in the relevant search results.
Should I Attempt at Running a PPC Campaign All by Myself?
You might. All the information is out there, Google or Bing will guide you through the process alright but…
It’s not in their best interest to make every business owner who uses AdWords or Bing Ads happy. On the contrary, the more you get sucked into meaningless spending the better for them.
Other options? Besides asking your neighbor to help you out, the only option you have is ordering PPC services from a professional web marketing agency.
Professional PPC agencies are interested in practical results since it’s what they’re paid for. Plus, they’re the only ones who could do an audit of your current state of PPC affairs to point out possible flaws and things you’ve been doing wrong.
Yes, professional PPC services cost money but they also save you money and help you make some. Consider the time you would’ve wasted if you had tried to do everything by yourself plus the money wasted on non-optimized ads.
All in all, PPC is one of those areas where hiring a specialist is more of an investment than an expense.
That does it for today’s “PPC Services for Small Businesses: What’s in the Box?” article – I hope you learned something new and useful.
If you’d like to learn more the professional PPC services provided by VG, be sure to visit this page – SEM.
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If you have further questions on the subject, please write them in comments – I’ll be glad to answer.
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